Friday April 05, 2024

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] has learnt with shock of the decision by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme [NSFAS] Board to continue with the irregularly appointed financial service providers for direct payment of students’ allowances.

As NEHAWU, we reject this decision especially after the damning Werksmans and Advocate Ngcukaitobi report which had found that the four service providers were appointed irregularly and have been largely responsible for the current crisis of student funding. We find it quite bizarre that the board would continue using the same service providers that were irregularly appointed.

On the 15th October 2023, the NSFAS Board met and adopted the recommendations of the Werksmans report and further decided all the four (4) direct payment service providers that their contracts will be terminated, and the Board will ensure that the termination does not affect students negatively. It is therefore shocking to learn that the board has not implemented its own decision of terminating the contracts of the service providers. In this regard, we condemn and vehemently reject the non-termination of the fraudulently appointed service providers by the board. We call on the board to urgently terminate the contracts.

As NEHAWU, we are fundamentally opposed to the direct payment solution as it has outsourced the core responsibility of NSFAS to provide financial assistance to eligible students at Public Universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, as well as to be an effective and efficient provider of financial aid to deserving students from poor and working-class families in a sustainable manner, that facilitates and promotes access to and success in further higher education and training. 

The union contends that there can be no justification that the board can advance to change the facts about the fraudulent and irregular appointment of the service providers that have plunged higher education and training into a crisis as a result of the direct payment solution for student allowances.

The malfeasance associated with the direct payment solution has compromised the post schooling and training sector and has contributed to the bearers besetting the sector which including the following amongst others; financial and academic exclusion of students, lack of student funding, student accommodation and maladministration and corruption.

As NEHAWU, we won’t stand idle whilst NSFAS continues to lurch from one crisis to another due to poor governance and administration of the scheme. Lastly, as NEHAWU, we will continue working with our progressive allies in the higher education terrain to fight and struggle for the transformation of NSFAS into an instrument that will serve and cater for the needs of poor and working class students.


Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Lwazi Nkolonzi (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 081 558 2335 or email: